Researchers from the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgi (IISPV)-CERCA, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and the Biomedical Research Network Center for Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases (CIBERDEM) have found a new therapeutic route for the treatment of inflammatory and metabolic diseases such as obesity wave type 2 diabetes.
The research, supported by “la Caixa” Foundation and published in the scientific journal microbiomesuggests that the metabolic health of people with these diseases could experience an improvement by reducing the levels of succinate in the blood by administering specific bacteria that act as probiotics.
Succinate is a metabolite with multiple functions that is produced naturally by the cells of our body and the intestinal bacteria or microbiota. In metabolic and inflammatory diseases such as obesity and diabetes, where there is an alteration of the intestinal microbiotathe production levels of this metabolite are elevated 8, and this is directly related to the characteristic inflammation in this type of patient.
Precisely, several previous studies by DIAMET, the research group that has led this study and coordinated by doctors Sonia Fernández-Veledo and Joan Vendrell, had shown that detecting high blood levels of this metabolite indicates that the person is not in good metabolic health and that, therefore, in the future they have a higher risk of developing other pathologies. Hence, this indicator is key.
“In previous research by our group we basically showed that these patients had more succinate-producing bacteria and less succinate-consuming bacteria, but we had not been able to prove a direct causal relationship. In this research and by using microbiota-free obese animal models, we demonstrated for the first time Once the intestinal microbiota is the origin of the increased levels of succinate in obesity and diabetes”, explains Sonia Fernández-Veledo.
And he adds: “This new line of probiotics is based on the use of succinate-consuming bacteria, which would reduce inflammation and, consequently, improve glycemic levels and insulin sensitivity, two aspects that are altered in people with diabetes. “.
Investigating in these areas is crucial since, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) The incidence of obesity in the world population has tripled in the last 50 years. This disease is the most important risk factor for the development of diabetes, a disorder that, in turn, is considered by the WHO to be the ninth leading cause of death in the world. The majority of people who suffer from it (80%) are obese.
Probiotics that revolutionize the market
“After showing that this increase in succinate comes from the microbiota, we asked ourselves the following questions: if we administer a bacterium that consumes succinate, will we be able to reduce circulating levels? What if we reduce circulating levels? will we improve the metabolic profile?“, details Isabel Huber, first author of the scientific article.
This new line of probiotics also allows their effectiveness to be monitored in real time since “thanks to this study, we now know their mechanism of action, and, on the other hand, the result of the activity of these bacteria is easily measurable in the blood” , declares Isabel Huber.
He adds: “While many of the probiotics used on the market today are known to be beneficial, many times it is not really known how they act and, therefore, its effect cannot be objectively determined.”
The objective of this research team is that these probiotics may be marketed in the future and thus contribute so that people with metabolic and inflammatory disorders (obesity or diabetes, but also other diseases, such as Crohn’s or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) can find a new, more effective way to treat them.
These probiotics are being developed through the ‘spin-off’ Succipro, which is the result of years of research by DIAMET in this line. In addition, the company works on other therapies, also based on the reduction of succinate, for the treatment of this type of disease.
This research has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Girona (IDIBGI), the National Institute for Research in Health and Medicine of France (INSERM) and the companies Biomathematica and Probiotical (Italy).
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